When I was around seven years old living in India, my uncle bought me a set of 30 biographies. These were biographies of icons such as Muhammad Ali, Narayana Murthy, Pele, Azim Premji, Srinivasa Ramanujan and many more. I read the first biography of Muhammad Ali and midway through, a light flashed inside me. This is the moment I first asked myself, “What makes great people great?” I devoured the biographies and scarcely a moment passed where I would not be deeply engrossed in the life story of a great businessman like Mr. Murthy or an iconic athlete like Muhammad Ali. I began to believe that if I could find the things that made someone like Mr. Premji or Pele great, I could become one of them. I became obsessed with joining these icons in the place they occupy in history and learned everything I could about their lives.
Then, when I was 10 years old, I moved back to Canada. Around this time, my father had quit his job and had dedicated himself to making a documentary on success and human potential called, “Innovation: Where Creativity and Technology Meet” For the film, he interviewed many icons and experts on the science of success including Professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the celebrated author of “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience”, Prof. Srikumar Rao, the renowned creator of the Creativity and Personal Mastery Program(CPM), Kris Gopalakrishnan, cofounder and former CEO of Infosys, as well as Narayana Murthy, another cofounder and former CEO of Infosys whom I had read about in those biographies all those years ago. Just as I had devoured the biographies, I spent many hours watching the interviews. Seeing the personal perspectives of these great minds taught me another key to their greatness; they all had a message or an idea to express to the world and had dedicated their full being to its expression. So, I dedicated myself to finding my own voice with the hope that I would one day be able to join these icons that I so adored and idolized.
One day, during one of my many discussions with my father, I asked him, “If you could learn the secrets of success and happiness from anyone, who would you learn them from?” His answer surprised me because it wasn’t anyone I had heard of up to that point. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom I would later learn is one of the greatest philosophers of all time. I read Emerson’s essays and realized that these were messages that needed to be heard by our youth. So, with some encouraging words from my father and the inspiration I had gathered up throughout my life from all these great people, I dedicated myself to bringing the principles of Emerson to the world. The result was my first book, “Emerson For The Digital Generation: Secrets of Unparalleled Success and Happiness From The Timeless Wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson”
I had finally found my voice and realized what I wanted to become. I wanted to become a thinker on the level of greats like Emerson, Victor Frankl and Abraham Maslow. These are people who are still quoted years after their death and people even write books based on their work. We all have a legacy to leave on this world and I decided that mine would be to become a thinker that would never be forgotten and whose work would help fundamentally change the way people thought about their lives.
It has already been an incredible journey. I have gotten endorsements from so many insanely great people such as Prof. Srikumar Rao and Mr Narayana Murthy. The encouragement from these icons is enough to convince me that I can achieve my goal of one day joining the greatest thinkers of all time.
I would not be doing the things I do today if I did not read those biographies and watch those interviews my father did all those years ago. The people in those stories of greatness became my own personal guides and I looked to imbibe in myself the qualities that had made them great in the first place. It is like I am an artist who is constantly looking to his muses for inspiration. People like Muhummad Ali and Ralph Waldo Emerson are my muses. I am constantly studying their work and their stories, so that I can make the greatest parts of them a part of my story too. If I was not introduced to those great lives at such a young age and allowed to develop my obsession with emulating them, then I would not be so driven to do the things that I want to do.
I believe that rather than telling youth to just figure out their lives for themselves and leaving them in the dark, they should be taught about the lives of great people and to dream about becoming them. They should learn to find their own muses and design their lives with the inspiration they get from them. It is often the biggest fan that reaches or surpasses his idols. It is my dream that one day, just as I made Muhummad Ali and Narayana Murthy my muses, people will make me one of their muses. My dream is that through becoming a muse for others, I can inspire them to achieve unparalleled success and happiness, just as my heroes did for me all those years ago.
The big lesson is that we all have the potential for greatness, we just have to find the inspiration to do it and often the best source of that is finding our own muses and allowing ourselves to become possessed by the wonder that is felt at the thought of how extraordinary they were. When you study the lives of great people, you see that they are people just like us, except that they possessed a few common denominators of success. Mark Twain said “Really great people can make you feel that you, too, can become great.” When this realization happens, undying inspiration and motivation is the result. Often we need some sort of guiding light as we go about achieving our dreams and often the north stars, the very highest levels of achievement, can act as the brightest lanterns to illuminate our path to success.
Emerson For The Digital Generation: Secrets Of Unparalleled Success and Happiness From The Timeless Wisdom Of Ralph Waldo Emerson is a result of Anand Satheesh’s unique background. Born to a father deeply interested in creativity and success, he has grown up around thousands of books on personal transformation and leadership. His discussions with his father on the nature of success, life and human potential give him a unique sense of the solutions to the massive problems facing our world. His writings have gained praise from world renowned professors and leadership thinkers such as Prof. Tal Ben Shahar, the creator of the world renowned positive psychology course at Harvard University, Dr Marshall Goldsmith, a recipient of the world’s #1 leadership thinker award and many more. He writes regularly about issues relating to human potential and personal transformation in the context of youth in the modern world. Anand believes that today’s youth have the most potential for greatness but are also presented with a host of distractions and pressures that could stunt their growth and happiness. He aims to help all youth reach their true potential through his writings on personal transformation and human potential.
Anand is a grade 9 student living in Ottawa, Canada with his parents and brother. He is one of the main yearbook editors at his school, a committed school band member and an ardent badminton player.
Anand can be reached through his website www.anandsatheesh.com
The book Emerson For The Digital Generation is available at www.anandsatheesh.com
The documentary and interviews that inspired Anand is available at www.innovationmovie.com